THE BLOG
09/30/2016 12:35 am ET Updated Sep 30, 2017

Trump's Birther Mentors Don't Want To Talk About Birtherism Anymore

Matthew Cavanaugh via Getty Images

WorldNetDaily, if it's known for anything outside far-right circles, is perhaps best known for being the leading champion of the birther movement, pushing the issue for eight years and censoring all evidence of how it's been discredited. It helped Donald Trump behind the scenes in his pushing the birther issue in 2011 (and likely beyond).

But now, WND doesn't want to own its birther legacy -- perhaps because editor Joseph Farah and crew know that it's no longer defensible. And it certainly doesn't want to talk about its indisputable birther ties with Trump.

WND's coverage of the first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton -- in which Trump's birtherism came up -- is an example of WND fleeing from the legacy it owns. WND's main story on the debate waited until the 57th paragraph to bring up the birther discussion, and even then it's an unusually straight rendering that weirdly doesn't contest Clinton's assertion that birtherism -- again, the main focus of WND for much of the past eight years -- is racist. Then again, nor does WND disclose that it was advising Trump behind the scenes on how to be a birther.

Meanwhile, Joseph Farah -- who was among the WND staffers who personally advised Trump on birther conspiracies -- followed up with a column painfully admitting that Clinton won the debate ... but no mention whatsoever of the debate's birther discussion.

Then, Jerome Corsi -- another WND staffer who personally advised Trump on being a birther -- spent a post-debate article spinning hard for Trump, uncritically touting anonymous "staff members and insiders who spoke to WND" insisting that Trump "successfully executed a plan to hold back on aggressive attacks on opponent Hillary Clinton, focusing, instead, on projecting a presidential bearing." Corsi's only mention of the debate's birther discussion came almost as an aside: "Moreover, Trump noted, Clinton's presidential campaign in 2008 started the birther controversy by releasing to media an anonymous letter alleging Obama was not born in Hawaii, as well as the first photos of Obama in Kenya wearing traditional Muslim garb."

Corsi got the first part wrong; the UK Telegraph article to which he links to back up his claim that Clinton "started the birther controversy" in 2008 specifically states -- in the very first paragraph -- that "perennial local candidate and litigant" Andy Martin was pushing proto-birther claims in 2004. Nor does the Telegraph article assert that the Clinton campaign released the "anonymous letter alleging Obama was not born in Hawaii" -- it states the letter was "circulated by supporters of Mrs Clinton," not the campaign.

It's also strange that Corsi is also complaining about the Clinton campaign releasing the photo of "Obama in Kenya wearing traditional Muslim garb" (again, the article to which Corsi links notes that the Clinton campaign denied distributing the photo), given that WND has used that photo over the years to illustrate its anti-Obama "journalism." In fact, Corsi himself was particularly grateful for the photo's release, declaring in 2008 that the photo "raised questions about Obama's links to Kenya, which has Muslim neighbors on several fronts, and was home to Obama's father."

Like Farah, Corsi doesn't disclose the critical role he played in helping Trump push birtherism.

The shocker here is that it appears WND actually has a sense of shame after all. Too bad it didn't have this eight years ago -- too bad for both us and the future of WND.